One-act play.  The story involves Chet and Stu, two black-clad tramps waiting for Godot on a city street near a construction site. To pass the time, they play at being cowboys and Indians, watching for "prairie thunderstorms," and wallowing in make-believe mud. The fantasy of death from a Comanche arrow, apparently, is preferable to the reality of slow decay amid civilization, which Stu describes as "chicken coops with chicken-do hanging on the wire. The chickens walk through it and their feet rot. They start eating it and their livers rot and their feathers fall out. They lie there in a pool of shit and feathers and make this little cluck in the back of their throat." Gradually, though, the imaginary desert heat becomes lethal and the imaginary vultures begin to fly close, whereupon two suited and necktied gentlemen appear and primly recite the two lost cowboys' opening lines.

Performance History
Mark Taper Forum, LA: November 1967. Directed by Edward Parone
Old Reliable Theatre Tavern, NY: August 12-20, 1969. Directed by William Hart
Pindar of Wakefield, London: July 1972.

Village Voice, 8/21/69:
Sam Shepard has kidnapped Marlboro Country's funkiest young men and cast them into a comic no man's land on the stage of the Old Reliable. If there is any confusion between the four characters of "Cowboys 2" and Randolph Scott or John Wayne, it vanishes when we discover Bill Hart slinking against a wall, twitching and mumbling like a St. Mark's Place dude in the grip of withdrawal symptoms. Shepard's ass-dragging, dead-beat cowboys collide head on and humorously with what image we have left of the YMCA good-guy western hero.

Stressing violence and sex, the newer, dirtier westerns like "The Wild Bunch" have already plowed into our mythical conceptio nof life in the Old West. But "Cowboys 2" strikes me as being more to the point, focusing on the western hero himself, his mentality and lack of it. As the frontier fades into history, Shepard's alienated bunch wonder where they're at, speculate on events, and try to find an identity by doing cowboy-like things.

Bill Hart has directed this production with a clear eye for both the soul and the funnybone of the play. And Hart on stage is the comic hero of the evening. His attempt to spread out a bed rool is one of the drollest moments I've seen in a long time. Stan Roy and Rom LoPinto are both impressive as the more soulful, more professional ranch hands.

Mad Dog Blues and Others Plays - NY: Winter House: 1972
The Unseen Hand and Other Plays - Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill: 1972.
Fifteen One-act Plays, Vintage, 2012